When the New York Giants signed tight end Kyle Rudolph, they envisioned one primary factor he would bring to the team — the ability to catch the football efficiently in the middle of the field.
Rudolph is proficient in dominating short-yardage situations and collecting footballs adequately in the 10-yard range from the line of scrimmage. Interestingly, this is also where Evan Engram struggles the most, having been connected to six interceptions in 2020 and struggling with drops.
In 2019, Rudolph caught 28 passes on 30 targets, four 237 yards, and three touchdowns. He offers a big 6’6″ red zone threat for quarterback Daniel Jones and a competent pass catcher. Last season, Evan Engram dropped eight passes, representing 11.3% of his targets, per PFF. That is an unacceptable number, which hurt the Giants’ offense significantly, contributing toward missing out on a postseason appearance.
However, the signing of Rudolph should bolster the offense considerably, providing them with a consistent threat in the middle of the field and allowing Engram to capitalize on his strengths while leaving his weaknesses behind.
Historically, coordinator Jason Garrett utilizes a big body TE as a security blanket for his quarterback, and that is what Rudolph represents for Daniel Jones. Engram was always a more superior athlete with the ability to push the field vertically and utilizes above-average route running to take advantage of mismatches.
The New York Giants like to get creative with Evan Engram:
In 2020, Engram’s alignments varied, spending 450 total snaps inline, 284 in the slot, and 99 out wide. The Giants should continue to get creative and versatile with Evan; he can be used as a jumbo tight end in the slot and also spread out wide against smaller corners. At 6’3″ and 240 pounds, he can attack cornerbacks and smaller DBs, but also forcing middle linebackers to cover him up the seams, which is always advantageous.
In 12 personnel, which would dictate two tight ends, the Giants can draw attention to the middle of the field with Rudolph while simultaneously pressuring the vertical routes with Engram. That is not even mentioning the additions of Kenney Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and the existence of Sterling Shepard.
With so many downfield options and short-area receivers, Daniel Jones will have plenty of weapons to utilize on offense, but Engram could see his potential realized in his fifth year as the Giants picked up the option in his rookie contract last season.
The reality is simple, if Engram can alleviate his drop issues and hold onto the football, he would easily be a top-five receiving tight end in the NFL.